Marketing Lessons from the Women’s Buying Behavior Index- Recalling the PR target audience with the most buying influence

10 Dec

Marketing Lessons from the Women’s Buying Behavior Index

Posted on Dec 8, 2012 in Marketing,

By Aliza Freud, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, SheSpeaks, Inc. and

It’s that time of year again.  The holiday shopping season is upon us and everyone, from the President in the White House, to business owners big and small, is looking for predictions on how this year’s season will go. Will this year be better than the last? Will it stay the same? Or, will we see a decrease in holiday revenues?

Luckily, this year’s opening weekend for the holiday shopping season is off to a great start. According to the National Retail Federation, shopping over the all-important Thanksgiving weekend was up 12% vs. a year ago. In order to get a better idea of what is driving shoppers to purchase this year, we think a great place to start is with women.

Female consumers are heavily targeted by marketers during the holiday season—and for a good reason. Women make up a significant number of all purchases throughout the year, including those during the holiday season, and advertisers have taken note. Just turn on the TV and you are more than likely going to see ads where retailers mention women and female consumers by name, like this holiday spot from TJ Maxx:

Given the impact of female buyers, SheSpeaks and Lippe Taylor teamed up to survey over 3,000 women to see what drives their buying behavior. After tabulating all of the data, we released the SheSpeaks Lippe Taylor Women’s Buying Behavior Index.

The study asked these female consumers their feelings about everything from their family’s finances and disposable income, to how they plan to purchase different consumer goods and what social media channels they are using. Providing a road map of how women plan on spending their money during the holidays and beyond, the Women’s Buying Behavior Index helps all of us gain greater insight into the mind of the female buyer.

Buying Index Infographic


Below are key highlights from the Index:

  • Women are feeling tentative about their financial situation. While many are concerned, most (62%) plan to spend the same amount on consumer goods in the next six months.
    • About two-thirds (65%) say they can only afford a few ‘nice-to-have’ items, and only 2% feel the freedom to purchase all of their families ‘nice-to-haves.’
    • Only 29% are ‘very confident’ that they will be able to cover their basic expenses in the coming year without using up savings or taking on debt.
    • Yet, slightly more are at least ’somewhat comfortable’ with their financial situation (40%) compared with 36% who are somewhat or very concerned.
  • Brick and mortar stores seem to be losing ground as women surveyed plan to shop more digitally during the holidays.
    • For key holiday spending days, digital has eclipsed in-store shopping, as slightly more plan to shop on Cyber Monday (55%) than Black Friday (50%).
  • Pinterest is helping Santa decide what’s under the tree this year. The rise of social media may partially explain the increase in online holiday shopping.
    • Pinterest is a popular source for gift ideas (60%).
    • Many women also look at Pinterest for ideas of gifts they can make.
  • Surprises are nice but getting what you want seems to be better!
    • When it comes to holiday gifts, 41% say they want a complete surprise while 47% would like to get  something they’ve hinted at and 12% want to spell it out and get exactly what they asked for.
  • Parents and in-laws might want to ask for suggestions before buying holiday gifts. The worst gifts women have received from parents and in-laws include: pantyhose, a re-gifted mug from a casino, used make-up, and a velour polka dot sweat suit.
  • In this “50 Shades of Grey” year, romance still rules. When asked what they’d like this holiday season, most women would prefer a romantic night out (65%). Some would like sexy lingerie (25%), an erotic novel (17%) or a sex toy/vibrator (16%).

One finding worth further investigation is how quickly one of the newest social media platforms, Pinterest, has become a popular source for gift ideas.  Not only are women using Pinterest to get gift ideas but more than a third of them (36%) are also using it to do research on products they are already planning to buy for others.  We also found it interesting that 26% of the women surveyed are using Pinterest to help in creating their holiday lists of gifts they want.

It is no secret that women are one of the top consumer groups that corporations are trying to reach out to during the favorite season for retailing. But in order to get into their wallets, big business might want to pay attention to their favorite websites for shopping and can look to women’s Pinterest boards for what women really want this Christmas.


About the Author: Aliza Freud is the Founder and CEO of SheSpeaks ( and Founder of Cravebox (   SheSpeaks & Cravebox are product discovery platforms.  Both platforms, which help women discover, influence and share products, have built up a membership base of over 200,000 consumers.   Ms. Freud has helped clients like P&G, Pepsi, American Express, Citibank, Heinz, L’oreal and others tap into its influential consumer base to build advocacy and powerful insights.  SheSpeaks is also a winner of the NYSE Next Big Start Up competition.

Prior to founding SheSpeaks and Cravebox, Ms. Freud was an executive at American Express where she led worldwide brand innovation initiatives.  In her 10+ years at American Express, Ms. Freud led product management, new product development and co-brand partnership initiatives.  She has earned multiple patents for new financial and membership card services including the first for smart/dual card technology.

Ms. Freud holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and has been featured on ABC News, MSNBC, Good Morning America and in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and The Economist.  Ms. Freud lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and yellow Labrador Retriever. Contact her via e-mail at

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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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